Zanzibar by Sally Shafto

From: Christian Lebrat (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Jun 11 2007 - 05:01:59 PDT

June 5, 2007

University Communications*email suppressed
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Carbondale, IL 62901
618/453-2276 phone*618/453-2230 fax

Hello from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. We are sending you (1)
news release. Today's headline is:

1. Book details chapter of French film history

'The Zanzibar Films and the Dandies of May 1968'
Book details chapter of French film history
By Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE - They were young, idealistic, and full of verve. In many
instances, the personal journeys of young French filmmakers reflected the
period nearly four decades ago when widespread challenges to conventional
wisdom sparked upheaval in the U.S., and abroad.
A book by film historian Sally G. Shafto, executive director of the Big
Muddy Film Festival at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, details a
little-known chapter of French film history.

"The Zanzibar Films and the Dandies of May 1968," looks at a group of
young filmmakers who focused both on aesthetics and sought "to make films
in a new way out of the traditional commercial market," Shafto said. The
copiously illustrated 256-page book is bilingual, with text in both
English and French (Ed. Paris Expérimental, 2007 :

Zanzibar refers to a collection of 15 to 20 films financed by young French
heiress Sylvina Boissonnas over about a two-year time period between
spring 1968 and February 1970. The films were "all motivated by the desire
to change the face of French cinema," said Shafto, a native of Lenox,
"Forty years later this may sound very naïve, but these people were really
very sincere in what they were trying to do," Shafto said. "They were
trying to make films differently."

The book includes narratives on the films, interviews with many of the
filmmakers, and short biographies of those involved with Zanzibar.
Shafto will hold a book signing Wednesday, June 27, at the Pompidou Centre
in Paris. In addition, three Zanzibar films, "The Virgin's Bed, (Le Lit de
la vierge)" by Philippe Garrel, "Quickly (Vite)" by Daniel Pommereulle,
and "Twice Upon a Time (Deux fois)" will be shown Friday, June 16, and
Saturday, June 17, at the LaSalle Bank Cinema, 4901 W. Irving Park Road,

The French youth movement in May 1968 parallels many of the events in the
United States during the same period, serving "as a fulcrum for
galvanizing the energies of these young people in some way," Shafto said.
The exploding civil rights and women's movements in the United States were
gaining momentum in France. Many of the 35mm-films capture the themes of
the student protests in France.

Most of the filmmakers did not go to film school and bypassed French
requirements for becoming a director or director of photography. Instead,
they made movies without permission of the Centre national de la
cinematographie, the French government agency- a requirement for
distributing films.
"Instead of taking 10 years (of study) to make movies - they said, 'the
power is now; we want to make movies now," Shafto said.
May 1968 historians generally were unaware of the films' existence until
Shafto, a film historian who specializes in international cinema with a
strong background in French culture and film theory, wrote about them for
an article for Cinemathèque Francaise in 1999. Some of the films are now
available on DVD, she said.
Part of book focuses on Boissonnas, a niece of art patron Dominque de
Menil, who founded the de Menil Collection in Houston. Boissonnas funded
many of the filmmakers largely upon their appearance, Shafto said.
The generation still affects society today, Shafto said.
"The players in this group were all in the first crest of the baby boom
generation," born between 1942 and 1950, Shafto said.
"The first wave really came in with a feeling that the world was theirs S
they were going to effect a takeover," she said. "School was not as
important because diplomas were not what mattered; what mattered was
having some ideas and the energy and willingness to do it."

Shafto works in the University's cinema and photography department, which
is a part of the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts.
Before coming to SIUC in 2006, Shafto served as the English Web site
translator for the French film journal Cahiers du cinema. She also served
as an assistant director for the Avignon Film Festival in France, where
she lived since moving there in 1998 to finish her doctorate.
She has a master's degree in art history from Columbia University and
earned her doctorate in film studies at the University of Iowa. She was
curator of Zanzibar Films at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Harvard
Film Archives in London and co-organizer of a conference titled "Religion
and Cinema" at Princeton University. She taught various classes in film at
the Institut International de l'Image et du Son in Trappes, France and at
New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, among other experiences.

For more information about the book, contact Shafto at (address suppressed)
The book is available through for about $36 (not
including postage) or 27 euros. Bookstores may also order the book by
contacting Philippe Magnani, director of the Paris Museum International,
at (address suppressed)

Tom Woolf
Director - Public Relations
Associate Director - University Communications
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Beimfohr Hall - Mail Code 6819
1220 Douglas Drive
email suppressed
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.